The Friends of DalesBus
The Yorkshire Dales Public Transport Users Group
Campaigning for accessible and affordable public transport for visitors and residents within the Yorkshire Dales
Return to the Dales by Double Decker Bus
Not all of us have access to a car. When lockdown rules were relaxed, car owners were able to drive to the hills and dales, but those reliant on public transport were not only stuck with a different set of rules, but were governed by the availability of services. Although many Monday to Saturday services have now returned to the roads, there is still a big gap in rural and Sunday service options. The problem for a public transport user is also compounded by limited space available on each journey.
To try to address this dilemma, Friends of DalesBus have taken the unusual step of trialling a bookable return bus service to the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. Working closely with Transdev, under their established “Vamooz” umbrella, we have been able to offer a limited number of reserved seats to those who pre book only. No one else can use the bus. This is not quite the ethos of our “affordable and accessible public transport to the Yorkshire Dales” but it is a start, and provides a safe and secure service to use to get people without cars out and about in the present situation.
Initial bookings have been very encouraging, indicating a strong desire for these services. The first three services run on Sundays 2, 16 and 30 August. At the end of this time we should be in a better position to consider the way forward. We have to be mindful that things could change at very short notice with regard to both national and local rule changes, but hopefully this is the start of things getting better. The first three journeys start from Transdev’s Harrogate depot, and travel via Leeds, Otley, Ilkley, Skipton, Grassington, Kettlewell, Buckden, and Aysgarth to Hawes – returning by the same route – and provide a spectacular journey through Upper Wharfedale and over the tops to Wensleydale. They only stop at places passengers have booked to join and alight at.
Running these services also draws attention to the need for full restoration of bus services to the Yorkshire Dales as we emerge from the present crisis. Friends of DalesBus would like to thank Transdev and other individuals for their help in getting this operation off the ground.
The Friends of DalesBus, founded in 1996, is a voluntary organisation campaigning for accessible and affordable public transport for visitors and residents within the Yorkshire Dales.
The Friends of DalesBus manage a Bus Operating Fund, to which passengers can make donations to support bus services. These funds are transferred, along with other fundraising, to organisations such as the Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company to invest in services.
We assist with publicity and organise the DalesBus Ramblers programme of free guided walks, so that buses and trains in the area are well used and supported by fares as much as possible.